ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The New Moral Economy

Convincing billions of Indian citizens that demonetisation and digitalisation is a panacea for the country’s growth challenges and a solution to its core economic problems requires constructing a new moral economy, and a “different” imaging of India in the minds of the people. Incorrect economic arithmetic and the illusion of digitalisation are not the only problems to be negotiated. The moral political project overtly and covertly being attempted, is of far greater significance.

Safety Nets and Implementation of Macroeconomic Adjustment Programmes

Social safety nets are critical for mitigating the costs of crises and adjustment programmes. This paper reviews best practices in the design and implementation of safety nets. The main lessons suggest that the following are critical: having safety net instruments in place before crises occur; information on vulnerable groups to facilitate targeting; levels of spending that are adequate for this task yet consistent with sound macroeconomic policy; and administrative capacity. In this context, food-based safety nets can be an attractive option when administrative capacity is scarce, as they are conducive to self-targeting. In assessing options for minimising the adverse effects of policies on the poor and the need for social safety nets, poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA) can be a useful policy tool. In general, there is scope for more systematic PSIA and more effective social safety nets to minimise the costs of crises and adjustment programmes. The evidence so far also suggests that there is room for improving the role of global food aid as an international safety net. Global food aid is well-targeted, but the size and timing of disbursements have not been appropriate for meeting shortfalls in domestic food supply in recipient countries.

US-Saudi Arabia Relations: Coming of Age

The traumatic experience of 9/11 has provided both the US and Saudi Arabia the opportunity for a coming of age of their bilateral relationship. While the US will continue to guarantee the internal and external security of the kingdom, it will also insist on implementation of substantial reform programmes. On its part, Saudi Arabia, while maintaining strong links with the US, may be expected to pursue new political and economic engagements, particularly with principal European countries as also its neighbours, Iran and India.

India's External Reforms

The liberalisation of India's external sector during the past decade was extremely successful in meeting the BOP crisis of 1990 and putting the BOP on a sustainable path. These reforms improved the openness of the Indian economy vis-à-vis other emerging economies. Much, however, remains to be done. India's economy is still relatively closed compared to its 'peer competitors'. Further reduction of tariff protection and liberalisation of capital flows will enhance the efficiency of the economy and along with reform of domestic policies will stimulate investment and growth. The main lesson of the nineties is that liberalisation of the current and capital account increases the flexibility and resilience of the BOP. This applies to trade, invisibles, equity capital, MLT debt flows, and the exchange market. The author's analysis confirms that in India the exchange rate is a powerful instrument of adjustment in the current account deficit. It also confirms that equity outflows are very unlikely to be a major cause of BOP problems (unlike short-term debt). The impact of fiscal profligacy on the external account has become indirect and circuitous with the implementation of external sector reforms. It operates much more through the general expectations about economic (growth) prospects and the risk premium demanded by foreign (and domestic) investors and lenders. Thus its negative effects are likely to be focused on the domestic rather than the external account. In other words, the negative long-term effects of fiscal profligacy are more likely to be felt in future on the growth rate of the economy and the health of the domestic financial sector.

The Discrete Charm of the Adivasi

Development Hegemony: NGOs and the State in India by Sangeeta Kamat; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2002; pp xiii + 187, HB, Rs 495.

Mixed Signals

Broadcasting in our country continues to be governed by two archaic legislations and regulated through an assortment of laws that have been scripted as expedient measures to tackle high priority short-term demands. There exists no comprehensive policy that takes into account the contradictory pulls surrounding broadcasting in India.

Karnataka: Coconut Economy and Neera Tapping

Coconut farming is an important economic activity in the state, which is one of the three major regions producing the crop. The government needs to tailor its policy on neera tapping carefully keeping in mind the nature of the crop, the constant threat that farmers face from diseases and the existing wide market for neera.

Maharashtra: Human Development: Some Issues

Unless some definite and perceptible reorientation of policies and reordering of priorities emerge from a crucial study such as Human Development Report, it will be nothing more than a futile statistical exercise. The main merit of the Maharashtra report is that it focuses on the district as the main unit of development. But it would have been more useful if it had offered a range of development options that would make a perceptible impact on the human development index.

Institutional Context of Social Science Research in South Asia

There seems to be a pervasive sense that social science research in all south Asian countries is in deep crisis and that the great institutions of social science research built in the 1950s and 1960s are in some sort of terminal decline. A study of social science research in south Asia finds, however, that the story is not quite so simple. Not all regions, institutions or disciplines share a sense of decline or crisis. In some countries such as Nepal, for instance, this is partly because the foundations of serious social science research have not been adequately created; and in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and some regions of India, existing institutions have declined because of the cumulative impact of the political circumstances in which they had to operate, the shortage in the assured government funding of established institutions and other factors.

Avenging Angels and Nurturing Mothers

Feminists who have argued for the primacy of women's identity and solidarity have been presented with a dilemma with the rise of women's militancy in the Hindu Right. This paper, through an exploration of the role of the Sevika Samiti and the Durga Vahini in creating the militant cadre of women, contends that gender identity does not exist as primordially but is invented, created, resisted and subverted at the fulcrum of multiple identities. The entire oeuvre of practice, both discursive and material - the imagery of Bharat mata, the valiant historical figures and subservient mythical wives - all allow women to become avenging angels in moments of crisis. When these moments ebb away, they return to the mode of nurturing mothers and obedient wives.
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